“When I was seven, I was like any other seven-year-old,” says Brennah Kahaunani Payne. “I went to school, went to church on Sunday, and lost teeth.” But then Brennah was in a terrible car accident. She had to stay in the hospital for six months and have nine surgeries.
Many people helped Brennah in the hospital—doctors, nurses, and even a schoolteacher. Brennah thinks her hospital stay was like a “little mission.” She gave pass-along cards to several people to tell them about the Church. And she tried to comfort other children whenever she could.
But Brennah never got to meet some of the people who are most special to her. They are the people who donated blood that helped save her life. After her accident, Brennah lost a lot of blood. The doctors gave her blood that other people had donated.
Brennah wanted to thank those special people and encourage others to donate blood too. So she went to places where people were donating to say thank you. She passed out candy bars with little cards that said, “It’s SWEET to donate blood!” In California, where she lives, she told her story to community groups, at churches, and on the radio and TV. Brennah has made many friends by just being her cheerful, loving, enthusiastic self.
At age 10, Brennah is back to singing, dancing, and swimming. She feels her experience taught her several things. “It softened my heart and helped me see all the blessings I have,” she says. As the youngest of five children in her family, she now knows that “being small doesn’t mean you can’t do great or big things.” She has also learned how much Heavenly Father loves her as He helped her through her trials. And she has a message for all children: “You should always know how much Heavenly Father loves you.”
Photograph by Heather Payne; illustration by Dan Burr / flowers © Visual Language